RSPBA: Regradings, 2023 Major Championships Review, Pipe Band College Suspended

The following excerpts are from the minutes of last month’s Board of Directors’ meeting of the RSPBA. We reproduce them as close to the original as possible without comment.

2024 Championship Update: Chief Executive [Colin Mulhern] spoke about the World Championship and has confirmed dates for 2024 [16/17 August]; Scottish [at Dumbarton] has signed for three years.

He is continuing to work with various councils and promoters for the remaining three Championships. It was highlighted to the Board that councils are currently experiencing financial difficulties. Chairman requested that a letter be sent to all bands to inform them the status of the 2024 championships. [Three championships, the British, the European and the UK, remain unconfirmed for 2024.]

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UK Championships [2023]: It was pointed out that there was a problem with Arena 2. As the arena was situated on the top of a hill, it was too busy when Grade 1 and 2 were playing. Arena 2 has been addressed with the promoters and this will be moved to the bottom on the flat ground.

European Championships [2023]: The park had lots of space there were however issues with the bus parking as bands had to walk a fair distance into the park. There was also a problem when somebody left the park then the security would not allow them back in…. The Compilers Office was too far away. Final tuning was too close to Arenas 3 and 4, this was going to move to the top of the arena, however, the vendors were there. The pipe band village received positive feedback and would like to see this again. Comments on the lack of water as well as the cost of a bus pass which was expensive.

Scottish Championships: The cost of the bus pass was expensive. The final tuning for Arena 2 was in the middle of the bus park as they had lost control of the parking which allowed the buses to park wherever. Arena 3 lost out too due to the bus parking.

Buses were stuck for four hours at the end of the day due to the ground conditions. Swapping the compiling was a great idea as they had no interruptions. Arena 1 in the morning was chaotic due to the bands that swapped playing places.

A discussion on allowing bands to change their playing slot took place. Two bands with a similar name swapped and the wrong band moved causing a problem. Juvenile can opt out of draw and play first can this be re-examined? We would need to be aware before draw, on a first come first served basis. Standing Orders to look into this.

World Championships: Novice Juvenile B qualifiers – the wrong band was announced as the band name was written incorrectly on the sheet that went into compiling; we need to make sure the band name and band number are entered correctly. Access to water was an issue.

The BBC camera in front of the stage was a problem. Bands could not see the Chieftain. Glasgow and the BBC are looking at the plans for next year and to move the camera tower back.

Issues with the summary sheets from the Adjudicators due to illegible writing. Not enough seating for in Grade 1 arena which was disappointing and was not as good as previous years. Looking to see how this can be improved for next year. A planning meeting in December is booked to look at more seating and to use the same colour of seats.

Grade 1 bands leaving the arena needs addressing. Friday afternoon a stand support post fell from the seating stand, these need to be securely fitted. A flagpole hit an Adjudicator due to the wind, again this needs to be securely fitted. A person with a disability was not allowed into the disabled area they didn’t have a ticket (Glasgow Life are addressing this).

In Arena 8 the final tuning was too close to the arena, this couldn’t be taken further back due to the barrier. Vice Chairman confirmed the arena had been turned around due to the space.

The G4A qualifier and the G4A final was in different arenas; this was due to the final being in a more centralised place for spectators. Issue with Grade 1 band gazebo, was told to move it every time it was put up. When listening to the live streaming you could hear Grade 1 in the final tuning, this was very distracting when going into the arena to compete. It was mentioned that the distance between final tuning and the start line was 60 metres.

Back of the arena you could not hear the announcements due to the PA system on Friday and people could not hear which bands were coming into the arena. The speakers were switched on late Friday afternoon. A number of people had to watch the live stream to see the results. Glasgow Life offered 30 extra band tickets for the Friday when a bus pass was purchased. This was well received.

In Arena 5 the Adjudicators had to go at one end of the park to the other in order to adjudicate with minimum time in between.

Pipe Band College: The RSPBA & Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust spoke about holding a ‘Demonstration’ free style event at the World Championships 2024, talks ongoing.

The Summer School was extremely successful and well received with the visiting instructors. Proposer MM 2nd LR unanimous.

Education Officer Report: Scott Currie donated 30 Stagg music stands for the Summer School. He was asked to attend HQ for an official thank you.

The Chairman requested permission to suspend the Pipe Band College until a complete external review has been carried out. This is to exclude exams and summer school. After a series of meetings with the PBC principals and Association staff the Chairman felt that the PBC was not fulfilling the laid down Terms of Reference as prescribed by the Association.

It was proposed to suspend the Pipe Band College until after the independent review. The Chairman proposed and it was approved unanimously by all attending Directors.

The RSPBA Music Board Standards and Gradings Group have approved and notified the relevant Band Secretaries of the following grading changes. They are, by appeal:

Grade 4B to 4A: RAF Central Scotland P&D, RAF Lossiemouth, Cottown

Grade 4A to 3B: Mid-Argyll

Grade 3B to 3A: Turriff and District

By request:
Grade 3A to 4B: Kilmarnock

Grade 4B to 4A: Fraserburgh RBL

Grade 3A to 4A: Broughshane and District

Grade 3A to 3B: Marlacoo and District

The Bagpiper’s Handbook…a must have for all pipers


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